As we talked about yesterday, sometimes the self-critical words we speak to ourselves end up perpetuating the reality that we bemoaned in the first place. This only discourages and disheartens us.
It is not God’s plan for us to live in discouragement and despair. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
It is not enough just to heap more condemnation on ourselves and say, “I really need to stop beating myself up.” That’s just one more thing we’re not doing right. In II Corinthians 10:5 Paul tells us he uses God’s power to “take every thought captive to obey Christ.” We must replace destructive negativity with powerful truth.
So we must tell ourselves truth. Lying in bed while I’m sick thinking, “I’ll never get better,” further depresses my spirit, and minimizes God’s healing power and His desire to be my help in trouble. He may have a purpose for my illness and it may last longer than I’d like, but I can still trust Him through it. And chances are I will survive the common cold.
Scripture is the best truth because it’s God’s truth. I need to take a verse that applies to my current struggle and post it in a place I will see it.
One of the most helpful reminders of truth that I use frequently is Ann Voskamp’s list of Father Affirmations. What if, instead of speaking doubt and discouragement into our lives, we lassoed those thoughts, tossed them out the window, and told ourselves how it really is:
“I’m never going to feel better.” I am complete in Christ. (Colossians 2:9-10) “I’m not sure this project will not turn out well, so I’m not even going to start.” I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ. (Hebrews 4:14-16) “I’m sure I’ll forget to bring the Bible study book to Sunday School.” I have not been given a spirit of fear but of power, love and a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7) “I can’t change bad habits.” I am confident that God will complete the good work He started in me. (Philippians 1:6) “That isn’t fair.” I am assured that God works for my good in all circumstances. (Romans 8:28)
What would life be like if we really believed and lived from the power of those truths?